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Entropic attraction: Polymer compaction and expansion induced by
nano-particles in confinement
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We investigated nanoparticle (NP)-induced coil-to-globule transition of a
semi-flexible polymer in a confined suspension of ideal NP using Langevin dynamics.
molecules are often found to be highly compact, bound with oppositely charged
in a crowded environment within cells and viruses. Recent studies found that high
concentration of electrostatically neutral NP also condenses DNA due to entropically
induced depletion attraction between DNA segments. Langevin dynamics simulations with a
semi-flexible chain under strong confinement were performed to investigate the
competition between NP-induced monomer-monomer and monomer-wall attraction under
different confinement heights and NP volume fractions. We found that whether NP
induce polymer segments to adsorb to the walls and swell or to attract
one another and compact strongly depends on the relative strength of the monomer-wall
and the NP-wall interactions.
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